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4A State Wrestling Preview
Minico brings the most competitors, but Nampa, Jerome and Blackfoot are strong contenders as well
Published: 2/24/2022 8:20:12 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer


For the past two years, our nation and the world has lived through challenging, yet concerning times due to the COVID pandemic. Despite the myriad of challenges the pandemic has brought upon our daily lives, the sport of wrestling has continued to press forward in the midst of this reality. At last year’s Idaho State Championships, the fan attendance was at an ultimate low, which was based solely on COVID protocol requirements (greatly changed the atmosphere in the Ford Arena). With facility capacity restrictions being lifted this year, I expect the atmosphere to be energetic and exciting, which will impact overall performance in the arena.

Based on the competition I have observed this year, I expect the 2022 Idaho State Championships being held this Friday and Saturday at the Holt Arena in Pocatello to be a barnburner event with several wrestlers defending or going for their third and fourth individual title. A large percentage of the traditional team powers in all four divisions return strong teams and are expected to be in the mix for the team title and a top five finish.

For the past few years, girls wrestling has been designated the fastest growing high school sport in the United States and based on my observation, the numbers in Idaho are beginning to increase on an upward trajectory. For the past several years, the girls division has conducted an open state tournament, but in 2022 the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) has officially sponsored the sport. Below is a summary of the top individuals and teams in the 4A division, as well as the pre-tournament seeds (top 8 boys/top 2 girls), listing their respective state placings and All-American honors. 


The 4A division returns 7 State Champions and 51 placers overall. The deepest weight groups are 106s, 113s, and 126s with five to six returning placers each.  The top seed at 98 is Gabe Martinez of Mountain Home. Overall, this weight group consists of several freshmen and is wide open. Without a doubt, the top seed entering the state tournament at 106s is returning State Champion Mack Mauger of Blackfoot. Rated nationally, Mauger has earned his ranking by winning double National Champion honors at Fargo and more recently by winning the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invitational in Clovis, California, regarded as a top 3 high school level tournament in the country. Close behind and challenging for the title is returning State Champion/2x finalist Dedrick Navarro of Nampa. Also earning multiple All-American honors, Navarro also earned a medal at Doc Buchanan this year. Overall, the 106 pound weight group has five returning state placers and will be highly contested. Entering this year’s state tournament rated among the top freshman in the country is Bishop Kelly’s Mathew Martino at 113s. Earning Fargo All-American honors, along with other national level accolades, Martino will be tough to beat. Challenging Martino is returning State Champion Simon Alberto-Luna of Nampa.

At 120s, returning State Champion Carsen Exferd of Nampa is the favorite and will be challenged by several returning state placers, which include Payton Hernandez (Columbia, 11), Devyn Greenland (Century, 11), Clancy Mummert (Twin Falls, 12), and Kaiden Rubash (Jerome, 11). The deepest weight group in the 4A division is 126s. The top seed is Columbia’s 3x placer Simon Graeber. Challenging Graeber for the title include Aiden Go (Caldwell, 12), Peyton Munson (Nampa, 12), Eli Hernandez (Nampa, 12), Brody Kemble (Middleton, 12), and Hernan Dominguez (Minico, 12). The favorite at 132s is Christopher Martino (Bishop Kelly, 12), the older brother of Mathew at 113s. A 6x All-American, Martino is in position to earn a fourth state title. Others to watch include Nikko Gonzalez (Nampa, 11) and Eli Abercrombie of Blackfoot, each returning state placers.

The top seed at 138s is returning State Champion and All-American Hunter Bidelman of Caldwell. He will be challenged by number 2 seed Luke Moore of Blackfoot, a 3x state placer. Keep an eye on returning state placer Manual Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 10), and Dominic Gonzalez of Nampa. In a fairly deep weight group, returning state placer Jacob Blanford of Middleton is the favorite at 145s. He will be challenged by returning state placers Tucker Banks (Bonneville, 12), Diego Deaton (Moscow, 11), and Taye Trautner of Blackfoot. At 152s, Blackfoot’s Austin Ramirez is the lone returning state placer (2nd in 2021) and is the favorite.

With three returning state placers, Minico’s Milton Hernandez is the favorite at 160s. He will be challenged by Nakoa Fouret (Columbia, 11), Jonathan Seamons (Nampa, 10), and Gavin Williamson (Jerome, 10). The 170 pound weight group is wide open and is difficult to pick a favorite. Returning state placers are Lakeland’s Devon Suko, Spencer Pease (Minico, 10), and Levi Lockett of Jerome. Emery Thorson of Preston is the top seed at 182s. Placing 4th at state in 2021, he will be challenged by several wrestlers in this weight, including returning state placer Michael Edwards of Blackfoot. The 195 weight group returns three state placers and is led by top seed Isaiah Murphy of Moscow. With only one returning state placer (Colby Coates-Jerome), the 220 weight group is wide open. The top seed is Nampa’s Payton Gunter. The top two seeds at 285s are exceptionally tough wrestlers. Leading the heavyweight division is 2x State Champion and All-American Nico Rodriguez of Columbia. He will be challenged by 2x state placer Miguel Perez of Caldwell.

In the team competition, the road to the state team title will be hard fought with Nampa, Minico, Jerome, and Blackfoot looking to have the strongest teams. Also challenging for a top 5 placing is Caldwell, Columbia, Bishop Kelly, and Lakeland.

Nampa (13 Seeds/Returns 9 state placers)
Minico (15 Seeds/Returns 5 state placers)
Jerome (10 Seeds/Returns 6 state placers)
Blackfoot (9 Seeds/Returns 6 state placers)
Caldwell (8 Seeds/Returns 4 state placers)
Columbia (7 Seeds/Returns 4 state placers)

Other teams to watch:
Bishop Kelly (7 Seeds/Returns 2 state placers/Top incoming freshman)
Lakeland (5 Seeds/Returns 2 state placers)



  1. Gabe Martinez (Mountain Home, 11)
  2. Saxton Scott (Bonneville, 9)
  3. Alijah Macias (Nampa, 9)
  4. Greyson Molina (Minico, 9)
  5. Hazen Thompson (Century, 9)
  6. Andrew Duke (Sandpoint, 10)
  7. Wyat Blanchard (Bonneville, 9)
  8. Cyrek Harrell (Burley, 9)


  1. Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 10), State Champion (98), 2x National Champion/6x All-American
  2. Dedrick Navarro (Nampa, 11), State Champ/2x finalist, 2x All-American
  3. Draven Johns (Caldwell, 9)
  4. Francisco Zagal (Twin Falls, 12), 5th, 4th State
  5. Aulani Macias (Nampa, 10), 6th State (98)
  6. Andre Valero (Minico, 10), 4th State (98)
  7. Daniel Martinez (Mountain Home, 11)
  8. Alex Palmer (Moscow, 10)


  1. Mathew Martino (Bishop Kelly, 9), All-American
  2. Simon Alberto-Luna (Nampa, 11), 2nd, State Champion
  3. Matthew Williams (Lakeland, 11), 5th State (98)
  4. Jabyn Kemble (Middleton, 9)
  5. Tucker Arthur (Minico, 9)
  6. Jayce Wolfe (Caldwell, 9)
  7. Clark Peterson (Shelley, 9)
  8. Ryan Nuno (Bonneville, 11), 6th State ’20

 Others to watch:
Carter Balmforth (Shelley, 10), 2nd State (106)


  1. Carson Exferd (Nampa, 10), State Champion (106)
  2. Payton Hernandez (Columbia, 11), 2nd, 2nd (113)
  3. Michael Ziniti (Jerome, 10)
  4. Jose Contreras (Minico, 11)
  5. Devyn Greenland (Century, 11), 4th, 6th State (113)
  6. Clancy Mummert (Twin Falls, 12), 6th State ’20
  7. Ryker Vail (Bonneville, 9)
  8. Kaiden Rubash (Jerome, 11), 6th, 5th State (106)


  1. Simon Graeber (Columbia, 12), 2nd, 3rd, 2nd ID (120)
  2. Aidan Go (Caldwell, 12), 4th, 3rd State (120)
  3. Joseph Terry (Minico, 11)
  4. Peyton Munson (Nampa, 12), 4th, 6th State (120)
  5. Carter Lindsay (Blackfoot, 12)
  6. Eli Hernandez (Nampa, 12), 5th State
  7. Brody Kemble (Middleton, 12), 4th, 3rd State
  8. Hernan Dominguez (Minico, 12), 5th State (113)


  1. Christopher Martino (Bishop Kelly, 12), 3x State Champion, 6x All-American
  2. Nikko Gonzalez (Nampa, 11), 2nd, 4th State (138)
  3. Eli Abercrombie (Blackfoot, 12), 2nd State
  4. Brody Ottley (Minico, 10)
  5. Tavin Rigby (Preston, 10)
  6. Aidan Prakash (Moscow, 9)
  7. Aizik Hensley (Century, 12)
  8. Luis Martinez (Canyon Ridge, 11)

Others to watch:
Dominic Alcantara (Caldwell, 10), 6th State (126)


  1. Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell, 11), State Champion, 2x Finalist, All-American
  2. Luke Moore (Blackfoot, 12), 5th, 4th, 4th (126)
  3. Shad Smith (Century, 12)
  4. Lucas Williams (Lakeland, 12)
  5. Xzavier Martinez (Burley, 11)
  6. Dominic Gonzalez (Nampa, 12), 4th, 5th State (132)
  7. Manual Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 10), 3rd State (132)
  8. Marquez Arredondo (Caldwell, 10)


  1. Jacob Blandford (Middleton, 10), 6th State (138)
  2. Tucker Banks (Bonneville, 12), 4th, 3rd State
  3. Diego Deaton (Moscow, 11), 5th State
  4. Taye Trautner (Blackfoot, 12), 5th State (138)
  5. Carlos Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 9)
  6. Brock Smith (Jerome, 10)
  7. Andrew Choate (Columbia, 12)
  8. Derek Doiron (Bishop Kelly, 12)


  1. Austin Ramirez (Blackfoot, 11), 2nd State
  2. Caigun Keller (Preston, 12)
  3. Darrian Resso (Sandpoint, 11)
  4. Paxton Twiss (Minico, 10)
  5. Kylan Guerra (Blackfoot, 10)
  6. Ryland Turner (Jerome, 12)
  7. Seiya Thompson (Bishop Kelly, 10)
  8. Eli Lyon (Moscow, 12)


  1. Milton Hernandez (Minico, 12), 2nd State (152)
  2. Nakoa Fouret (Columbia, 11), 3rd State (145)
  3. Jonathan Seamons (Nampa, 10)
  4. Gavin Williamson (Jerome, 10), 4th State (152)
  5. Jaden Perkins (Preston, 12)
  6. Xander Zollinger (Skyline, 10)
  7. Hayden Kinney (Caldwell, 12)
  8. Jorden Tyler (Sandpoint, 9)


  1. Devon Suko (Lakeland, 12), 6th State
  2. Micah Serr (Preston, 10)
  3. Spencer Pease (Minico, 10), 5th State (160)
  4. Treven Hokland (Middleton, 10)
  5. Trayden Henderson (Blackfoot, 11)
  6. Levi Lockett (Jerome, 11),6th State (160)
  7. Omar Martin (Columbia, 12)
  8. Calvin Hinds (Sandpoint, 11)


  1. Emery Thorson (Preston, 11), 4th State (170)
  2. Luke Arthur (Minico, 12)
  3. Matthew Young (Jerome, 12)
  4. Michael Edwards (Blackfoot, 12), 6th State ’20 (170)
  5. Justin Jeppsen (Bonneville, 11)
  6. McKade Lanningham (Columbia, 12)
  7. Blake Sherrill (Sandpoint, 12)
  8. Ethan Kincheloe (Nampa, 11)


  1. Isaiah Murphy (Moscow, 12)
  2. Garrett Vail (Minico, 10)
  3. Skeet Newton (Twin Falls, 12), 4th, 2nd State
  4. Preston Colvin (Skyline, 11), 6th State
  5. Parker Bodily (Preston, 11)
  6. Robby Ortega (Jerome, 12), 4th State (182)
  7. Phil Janquart (Bishop Kelly, 10)
  8. Kaimbridge Gee (Minico, 12), 4th State


  1. Payton Gunter (Nampa, 11)
  2. Colby Coates (Jerome, 11), 6th State
  3. Zahne Ruiz (Twin Falls, 11)
  4. Cash Weeks (Middleton, 10)
  5. Kaleb Jordan (Century, 12)
  6. Javier Rangel (Minico, 12)
  7. Devon Howell (Lakeland, 11)
  8. Freddy Martinez (Minico, 11)


  1. Nico Rodriguez (Columbia, 12), 3rd, 2x State Champion, All-American
  2. Miguel Perez (Caldwell, 11), 3rd, 3rd State
  3. Jackson Geslin (Century, 11)
  4. Kaiden Hansen (Bonneville, 12)
  5. Zane Lovell (Nampa, 12), 4th, 5th State
  6. Baylee Carney (Twin Falls, 12)
  7. Mark Larsen (Jerome, 11), 6th State
  8. Preston Jeffs (Lakeland, 11)

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